NASCAR: Drivers may be limited to running for one championship Talks persist that NASCAR drivers will be limited to running for only one of the three major series championships in 2011.
The rule--not official but expected to become so soon--is primarily intended to keep full-time Sprint Cup drivers from running for the Nationwide Series title.
Full-time Cup drivers have won the last five Nationwide titles: Kevin Harvick in 2006, Clint Bowyer in 2007, Carl Edwards in 2008, Kyle Busch in 2009 and Brad Keselowski in 2010. The last “true” Nationwide driver to win the series title was Martin Truex Jr. in 2004 and 2005, shortly before he moved to Cup.
The rule will allow Cup drivers to run unlimited Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series races--a concession to track operators who want Cup drivers in their Friday or Saturday races--but they won't earn championship points. Drivers will be required to declare their primary series when they apply for their license prior to Speed Week '11 at Daytona Beach in February.
“I don't think Cup guys will be getting points at all if they're running the Nationwide Series,” team owner Rusty Wallace said last week at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “Once they get their license, they'll have to commit: Do you want your points in the Nationwide Series, do you want your points in the Truck Series or do you want your points in the Cup Series? That's just a guess.”
But other Nationwide team owners agree with Wallace's prediction. NASCAR chairman Brian France has said an announcement may be coming in January about changes to the point structure. He has said he wants the Nationwide Series to build its own identity and personality, to become a solid and viable stand-apart series.
Only two non-Cup drivers won Nationwide races last year: Justin Allgaier at Bristol Motor Speedway in August and Boris Said the following weekend in Montreal. The other 33 went to Cup drivers: Busch won 13 times, Keselowski six, Edwards four, Harvick three, Joey Logano two and Jamie McMurray, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcos Ambrose and Tony Stewart won one each. AutoWeek